Blockchain-built Metaverse is not dead. Nearly 99% of what we buy in the real world is virtual value. These virtual items now live in the metaverse as well. Consider virtual value as culture or symbolic value, brands to differentiate ourselves. Virtual value on which we build our identity. Because, at present, identity is virtual. A virtual identity that entirely belongs to the one who acquires it through NFTs. The knot of identity is in tokenization because it is the link to ownership.
Yat Siu exposed these ideas in an excellent TED talk about the metaverse. One of the best experiences of this summer vacation. Enjoyable, simple, and emphatic. The Enjoyable, simple, and emphatic Hong Kong-based investor and co-founder of Animoca Brands gives us many clues about the meaning of the metaverse.
Rhetorically, the talk attempts to argue against the statement: “The metaverse is dead.” The number of times people declared dead Bitcoin, cryptocurrencies, or metaverse is infinite—even the barely born Web3 ecosystem. But, perhaps as zombies in a zombie society and economy, they are still there. The media is always alarmist, burying left and right to flag novelties. It is debatable to what extent the metaverse is new. Let’s face it: there are always precedents. But what is the innovation that surpasses the metaverse and makes it obsolete?
In responding to such a condemnation of the metaverse, Siu begins by describing this concept’s enormous concrete growth in size and impact capacity. He highlights that millions find employment and economic opportunities in the metaverse. The metaverse built on blockchain creates value. To understand this, Siu asks us to stop thinking of the metaverse only as a 3D virtual reality, as that “place” you go to with expensive VR glasses.
So, what is the metaverse for this technologist? It is the most advanced experience of capitalist societies. It is the reality of communities that spend more than nine hours a day online. The online realization of capitalism has finally arrived! What there was until now was a transfer of pre-online capitalism to a centralized internet. An online space that, in the words of the speaker, treats us like serfs in the Middle Ages. We work on the internet for free for the Data Lords.
In this year’s @TEDTalks, Yat Siu (@ysiu), our executive chairman, dives into the metaverse and digital data ownership.— Animoca Brands (@animocabrands) August 28, 2023
💡“Think of the Open Metaverse as a construction of new economies and societies, with a strong foundation of digital property rights,” he says. pic.twitter.com/WTtLyWa8uK
For Siu, the metaverse is the treasure trove of decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs). It is a space powered by blockchain and Web3, where, with no central authority, multiple communities can converge and collaborate. He is talking about the open metaverse. The metaverse behind these are decentralized finance and DeFi. But, above all, the metaverse in which the product of online work, the data, is for the one who works it because it allows digital ownership. Ownership is a responsibility, but it is what gives us economic freedom.
Beyond economic freedom is the shaping of our identity. For this, it is not only necessary to control the alienation of our work as data producers. What people acquire online must also belong to the person who buys it. Proof of property guarantees the open metaverse, as opposed to what is currently purchased in, for example, video games. Virtual in-game items do not belong to whoever pays for them. Examples of not-owned virtual goods are skins or decorative elements earned in the game. However, a purchased NFT is a part of the metaverse that becomes the purchaser’s property.
In tokenization, the opportunity for the open metaverse and Web3 lies. Tokenization makes us owners in the metaverse and of the metaverse. And in the strength of property rights lies the power of freedom.